JACKSON -- A former Democratic state congressman with cross-over political appeal has jumped out early to take on a Mississippi Supreme Court incumbent in November's election. Chancery Court judge Randy Pierce chaired two committees during five years in the state legislature before Republican Gov. Haley Barber appointed him to the bench in 2005. Chancery Courts deal with family, estate and some land issues. Pierce announced yesterday he would run for the southern Mississippi spot currently held by Justice Oliver Diaz, who has faced his own legal issues recently. Diaz was acquitted on federal bribery charges in 2006 over a southern Mississippi judicial scandal. "My campaign for Supreme Court will be about legal integrity," Pierce stated in his announcement. "I know and understand that integrity and justice go hand-in-hand." Pierce spent five years as a Democrat in the Mississippi legislature, chairing the House Education Committee and Appropriations Subcommittee on public education. He began professional life as a certified public accountant and later served as president of the University of Mississippi Law School Student Body. Diaz was also a Mississippi state representative before joining the Court of Appeals bench in 1994. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2000 and elected to it one year later to an eight-year term. Candidates for election to the Mississippi Supreme Court are not party-endorsed, so all proceed straight to the election on Nov. 4. Qualifying deadline for SC and Court of Appeals candidates is May 9.